Network Rail staff unite to tackle gender diversity on International Women’s Day.(Network Rail)

Network Rail staff unite to tackle gender diversity on International Women’s Day

(Network Rail Picture)

  • Women across Network Rail join forces to celebrate Network Rail as an equal opportunities employer

Network Rail staff from across the country joined forces on International Women’s Day this week to address the issue of gender diversity.

At the company’s training centre in the West Midlands, women from across the business celebrated the company’s existing female talent and discussed ways to further improve its diversity in the workplace.

Network Rail has set a target of increasing the proportion of women in the firm from around 15 per cent currently, to 30 per cent. Significant progress has been made over recent years, with a growing proportion of women on the board and executive committee as well as on its flagship apprenticeship and graduate schemes.

Chief executive, Mark Carne, kicked off the event and spoke of how Network Rail is leading the industry though it’s thinking and actions around diversity:

“We are incredibly proud of the progress we have made in this area, with a quarter of both our board and executive committee made up of female employees. We are growing diversity in our early entrant programmes, particularly our graduate scheme, and we have an award-winning and industry acclaimed diversity and inclusion team. The transformation in the last two years alone is something to celebrate, and we are incredibly passionate about leading the rail industry in this direction.

“But we know that we still have further to go. Women are contributing to social, economic, cultural and political achievements across the UK and the world over, but in business – including ours – they are clearly underrepresented. It is crazy that current forecasts are showing we will not achieve full gender parity in this country for another 117 years. This is why I am calling on colleagues across the industry and business community more broadly to make a difference and help to accelerate this pace of change.”

Network Rail’s chief engineer, Jane Simpson, joined the engineering industry as an apprentice aged 16 and is passionate about showing women everything that engineering has to offer. She added:

“Role models are crucial to show girls and women what’s possible and where their potential can take them. I was lucky to have a female role model who saw my potential and helped me realise it.

“Some quite senior men were astonished that I could talk confidently about complex engineering problems, but they soon came to see me for what I could do, not my gender.”

The International Women’s Day event was organised by Network Rail’s Inspire network – a group of men and women focused on supporting women in Network Rail to fulfil their potential, wherever they are in the business, and whatever those aspirations may be. Inspire is one of six staff networks in Network Rail that bring different groups of people together. Other very active networks include Archway for LGBT staff with over 300 members, ‘Cultural Fusion’ our BAME network with over 300 members, ‘Can do’ our disability network with over 100 members, Myriad our Carers’ Network with other 100 members and our Multi-faith Network with over 100 members.